Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Lib Talk is a Big Hit in Cyberspace

Liberal talk radio attracts less than 10% of political talk radio listeners. The vast majority of talk radio listeners – almost 80% -- are tuning into stations offering non-stop conservative talk radio. In fact, over half of all radio listeners do not have access to a lib talk radio station. However, while right-wing talkers like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham clearly dominate radio airwaves they hardly show up in cyberspace.

Like most bloggers who cover the talk radio business, I spend a lot of time surfing the net and posting on bulletin boards and blogs that cover talk radio. On most of these outlets the discussion is not about Limbaugh’s falling ratings, Hannity’s move to replace Limbaugh as top dog, or a profile of the fastest growing talk radio show. (I bet that you don’t the show is hosted by Mark Levin.[pictured on right])

No, the vast majority of talk radio blogging focuses on liberal talk in general and Air America Radio in particular. In fact, a highly unscientific analysis conducted by yours truly found that the topic of liberal talk radio accounts for over 80% of all the discussions on talk radio blogs and bulletin boards.

For example, on, the number one radio industry discussion board, there have been 11,062 posts covering 979 topics over the past year on the News/Talk board. This is one of the most popular boards on this huge site which currently includes about a half million posts. There are probably about two dozen regular posters who show up on this board. About a third of them are liberal, a third conservative, and the rest middle of the road or apolitical. However, 90% of topics discussed on News/Talk board are about liberal talk radio. The usual subjects, e.g. the Air American bankruptcy, Al Franken – missing is action, and the half-dozen stations planning to drop lib talk.

For example, I did a Google search for ["liberal talk radio" blogs] and four of the top five listings were, not surprisingly, liberal blogs – Liberal Talk Radio, probably the best blog covering talk radio, Libradio, a blog set up by two liberal talk hosts in Nashville, TV, Blatherwatch, a excellent blog about talk radio in northwest, and the Huffington Post, popular liberal political blog. The one conservative blogger who shows up in the top five is the Radioequalizer, hosted by that ubiquitous gadfly, Brian Maloney. It is not surprising that the Radioequalizer winds up in the top five. A quick check of Maloney’s blog shows that 90% of his entries focus on liberal talk.

However, when I did a Google search for ["conservative talk radio" blogs] three of the top five listings were liberal bloggers – Brian Fleming's Weblog, the Huffington Post, and Liberal Talk Radio. The two conservatives that showed up were Radioequalizer (probably the most prolific blogger on the subject of liberal talk radio,) and Michelle Malkin. Michelle hosts a blog on covering a wide range of conservative issues, but most of her talk radio entries are about (you guessed it) liberal talk radio.

So why is that most of the discussion on the net about talk radio is about lib talk? Why are more people interested in what’s happening to Al Franken than Rush Limbaugh. Why are 90% of the talk radio listeners tuned in to right wing talk and about the same percentage of bloggers and posters focused on lib talk?

There is a source for coverage of conservative talk radio. I just go my November issue of Talkers Magazine, (predictably two months late) They have a picture of Glen Beck on the cover and two stories on page one deal with conservative talkers. – "How the John Kerry Gaffe Story Really Broke" and a feature on "White House Radio Day" which was dominated by right wing talkers. I looked through the whole issue. There is nothing on the AAR bankruptcy and they do not seem to be concerned about whether Al Franken is missing in action.

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